Ezekiel 4

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1 Thou also, son of man, take thee a tile, and lay it before thee, and portray upon it a city, even Jerusalem:
2 and lay siege against it, and build forts against it, and cast up a mound against it; set camps also against it, and plant battering rams against it round about.

1 In the Word stone signifies truth, and therefore brick, because it is made by man, signifies falsity, for brick is is artificial stone. Ezekiel was commanded to besiege Jerusalem, in which prophetic incident is involved that its worship was falsified. A. 1296
1, 2. He should represent the falsities of the church, and the church besieged by them. P. P.
1,13. The prophet Ezekiel laid siege to a tile or brick. He was bound in cords. On the tile was portrayed Jerusalem. He did eat cake made of barley with the excrement of the ox, to represent that the truth and good of the church was thus obsessed by falses, and defiled by evils. E. 655.
1-15. Ezekiel the prophet was commanded that he should represent the state of the church, by taking a tile and engraving Jerusalem upon it, and that he should lay siege, and cast a trench and a mound against it, and should put an iron pan between himself and the city, and should lie on his left side, and afterwards on his right three hundred and ninety days, etc. The prophets represented the state of the church, and the Word; for he who represents the one represents the other also; for the ch.urch is from the Word, and is according to the reception of it in life and faith. L. 15·
Without the spiritual sense no one would know why the prophet Ezekiel was commanded these things. Nor the least thing concerning him was commanded which did not signify something of the Lord of heaven and of the church. S. 16.
The prophets represented the state of their church as to doctrine from the Word, and as to life according to It. The prophet by these things bore the iniquities of the house of Israel, and of the house of Judah. He did not take them away and thus expiated them but only represented and pointed them out. T. 130.
1-17. By Jerusalem the church as to doctrine is meant in the Word, because in Jerusalem, and nowhere else in the land of Canaan, was the temple and the altar. There sacrifices were performed, thus Divine worship itself. L. 64.
By Jerusalem is not meant the Jerusalem inhabited by the Jews, but the church to be established by the Lord. This may appear from those places in the Word where it is said of that city that it was entirely destroyed and that it was to be destroyed. B.100.
By Jerusalem is not meant that inhabited by the Jews. This is evident from passages in the Word where Jerusalem is said to be utterly lost, and to be destroyed. In Isaiah III. 9, Jeremiah XXIII. 14, and in other passages, where it is called Sodom. T. 782.
Whole Chapter. It is said that the Jewish nation was altogether corrupt, and that Jerusalem was to be destroyed. R. 350.
That the church is meant by Jerusalem which was to be established by the Lord, and not the Jerusalem Inhabited by the Jews in the land of Canaan, may also be evident from the places in the Word where it is said that Jerusalem is altogether destroyed, and that it is to be destroyed. R. 880.
Ezekiel was commanded to eat a cake of barley, etc, made with the dung of an ox; and it was said that so they should want bread and water in Jerusalem, and pine away for their iniquity, whereby was signified that the church would be destitute of goods and truths, and in mere falses of evil; and it is said that thereby he should carry the iniquity of the house of Israel. E. 805.
1,16. See Chapter II., 1,3, 6,8. A. 9807·
See Chapter II., 1,3, 6, 8. L. 28.
By the Son of Man was signified Divine truth proceeding from the Lord, therefore the prophets also, by whom it was revealed, were called sons of man. E. 63.

3 And take thou unto thee an iron pan, and set it for a wall of iron between thee and the city: and set thy face toward it, and it shall be besieged, and thou shalt lay siege against it. This shall be a sign to the house of Israel.

3 It is evident that iron signifies truth. Strength is attributed to truth, because it cannot be resisted. A. 426.
Signs were testifications of the truth. R. 598.
These things and the rest of the things in this chapter are representative of the state of the church with the Jewish nation. They signify that there was not with them any truth but what was falsified and adulterated which in itself is false. Such truth is signified by the man of iron. This like iron is hard, secluding and admitting not any genuine truth. It is therefore said that it may be for a siege, and thou shalt straiten it. A sign stands for testification. E. 706.
That he should represent their hardness of heart, from which it is that they have no fear. P. P.

4 Moreover lie thou upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it; according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon it, thou shalt bear their iniquity.

4 A prophet is one who teaches, and in the abstract sense the doctrine of the church. By the left side is signified the doctrine of truth from good. By truths from good man is purified from his iniquities. E. 600.
4-6. That the prophet by thus bearing the iniquities of the house of Israel and the house of Judah, did not take them away and thus expiate them, but only represented and pointed them out. L. 16.
4-8. The siege of the church by the falsities of evil, and evils of falsity. P. P.

5 For I have appointed the years of their iniquity to be unto thee a number of days, even three hundred and ninety days: so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel.
6 And again, when thou hast accomplished these, thou shalt lie on thy right side, and shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah: forty days, each day for a year, have I appointed it unto thee.
7 And thou shalt set thy face toward the siege of Jerusalem, with thine arm uncovered; and thou shalt prophesy against it.
8 And, behold, I lay bands upon thee, and thou shalt not turn thee from one side to the other, till thou hast accomplished the days of thy siege.

5, 6. See Chapter IV., 1-13. E. 655.

6 Forty stands here for the duration of the vastation of the Jewish church, and also for a representation of th Lord’s temptation, for it is said that He should bear the iniquity of the house of Judah. A. 730.
Forty signifies what is full or complete, therefore the prophet was commanded to lie on the right side, and to bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days.
A. 9437.
6, 7, 17. The plenary vastation of the church is signified by the number forty. By Jerusalem is signified the church, by laying siege to it is signified to straighten it by evils and falses; by wanting bread and water is ignified to be vastated as to the good of love, and as to truth of doctrine. E. 633.

9 Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentils, and millet, and spelt, and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof; according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon thy side, even three hundred and ninety days, shalt thou eat thereof.

9 Barley stands for exterior good, the good of exterior natural. A. 7602.
9-17. Dung signifies what is unclean, consequently evil and falsity. The prophet was commanded to make a cake of barley with the dung of human excrement because thus the sons of Israel eat their bread unclean. A. 10037·
9 et seq. The quality of good and truth of the Jewish church and nation are shown. A cake of barley with the excrement of man signifies the interior good of the church defiled with the evils of the love of self. A cake with dung of an ox signifies the external good of the church defiled with the evils of that love. Because those things are signified by the cake, it is said that they should want bread and water, and should be desolated. Bread and water are good and truth: to want them and to be desolated is to be deprived of them A. 10037.
9, 11, 13. Different species of good are signified by things named, more noble species of good by wheat and barley, but less noble by beans and lentils. A. 3332.
9, 12. The profanation of good and truth is treated of. The wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet, and spelt stand for species of good, and of truth derived therefrom. The bread or the cake made of them with human dung means the profanation of all of them. A. 3941.

10 And thy food which thou shalt eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day: from time to time shalt thou eat it.11 And thou shalt drink water by measure, the sixth part of a hin: from time to time shalt thou drink.

10 That the shekel is the price of what is holy is clearly evident here, where the Holy Land and the Holy City are treated of. A. 2959.
A shekel was a weight both of silver and of gold may be seen. A. 10222.
10-17. By these words was represented the adulteration of Divine truth, or the Word, in the Jewish nation. The barley cakes made with dung signify that adulteration, the barley cakes meaning good and truth natural, such as is the Word in the sense of the letter, and dung standing for infernal evil. Bread defiled denotes good defiled with evil or adulterated. E. 761.
10, 11, 16, 17. The prophet was to eat food by weight, and was to drink water by measure. The vastation of good and truth is treated of, a representation of which was made by the prophet. The state of vastated good is signified by their eating food and bread by weight, and the state of vastated truth by their drinking water by measure. Weight is predicated of good, and measure of truth. A. 3104.
10, 12, 13. In these passages twenty stands for that which is unholy, unclean, and profane. A. 4759.

11 Since six signifies full, therefore the word to take a sixth arose, by which is signified, in the spiritual sense, that which is complete, and entirely. R. 610.

12 And thou shalt eat it as barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it in their sight with dung that cometh out of man.
13 And Jehovah said, Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their bread unclean, among the nations whither I will drive them.

12, 15. These things were done by the prophet that he might represent the falsifications of truth in the church, for barley is truth, and barley mixed with dung is truth falsified and profane. R. 315·
13, 16, 17. That the prophet, by thus bearing the iniquities of the house of Israel, and of the house of Judah, did not take them away, and thus expiate them but only represented and pointed them out. L. 16.
The same statement repeated. T. 130.

14 Then said I, Ah Lord Jehovah! behold, my soul hath not been polluted; for from my youth up even till now have I not eaten of that which dieth of itself, or is torn of beasts; neither came there abominable flesh into my mouth.
15 Then he said unto me, See, I have given thee cow’s dung for man’s dung, and thou shalt prepare thy bread thereon.

14 That which is torn stands for evil which is from falsity, brought on by the evil. Torn is predicated of good into which falsity is insinuated, and thereby the good becomes no longer living.
Tearing in the spiritual sense does not signify such tearing as is done by wild beasts, but the rending of good by evils and falsities. It was an abomination to eat that which was torn, but because it signified the tearing of good by falsities which are from evil, a carcass signifies the death of good by evils, A 5828.
See Chapter II., 4. D. P., Page 26.
See Chapter II., 4. D. P., Page 56.
14-16. He should represent the falsification and adulteration of the sense of the letter of the Word. P P

16 Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, behold, I will break the staff of bread in Jerusalem: and they shall eat bread by weight, and with fearfulness; and they shall drink water by measure, and in dismay:
17 that they may want bread and water, and be dismayed one with another, and pine away in their iniquity.

16 T he staff of bread stands for support and power from good of love. A. 4876.
A staff signifies power. R. 485.
By breaking the staff of bread is signified that good and truth shall fail in the church for bread here signifies both. They shall eat bread by weight and in solitude, and drink water by measure signifies a deficiency of good and truth, and thence of the power of resisting evils and falses. E. 727.
16, 17. The celestial things of love are signified by bread. A. 2165
To want bread and water is to be deprived of the good of love, and of the truth of faith. This is manifest or is said that they may be desolated a man and his brother, and pine away because of iniquity. A. 9323.
Eating bread and drinking water stands for being instructed in the goods and truths of faith. A. 9412.
By water In these passages are meant truths R. 50.
Water denotes the truth of faith. E. 71.

By which everything of the church has perished. P. P.
That they may lack bread and water, and be desolated a man and his brother, and are consumed by their iniquity. D. P., Page 26.

Author: Emanuel Swedenborg (Compiled by Robert S. Fischer 1925)